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Chit fund scam: Jena accuses CBI of going soft on probe

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Ahmedabad: Alok Jena, the sole petitioner in the chit fund scam, on Tuesday accused the CBI of going soft in the investigation into the multi-billion rupee scandal.

Jena, who was here on a drive to mobilize victims of the chit fund scam, told reporters that Gujarat had the maximum number of victims of chit fund companies followed by Odisha.

The Odisha-based social activist said the Gujarat government had “deliberately bypassed” notices by the Supreme Court to submit details of the number of chit fund firms operating in the state, their stakes, and interstate links.

According to him, 27 people have committed suicide because of the scam since 2012 in Gujarat.

It was in a response to Jena’s public interest litigation that the Supreme Court on May 9, 2014, tasked the Central Bureau Investigation to probe the chit fund scam.

Inquiries by the CBI had led to the arrests of Biju Janata Dal (BJD) MP Ramchandra Hansda, BJD chief whip Pravat Tripathi, Odisha’s advocate general Ashok Mohanty and summons to 48 ruling party leaders, including eight ministers.

The social activist, however, alleged that the CBI has mysteriously gone slow after investigating officer M.K. Sinha picked up Saroj Sahu, the power of attorney holder of the bank accounts of the BJD and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.

He claimed that the same evening after Sahu was freed by the CBI, the chief minister left for Delhi, where he reportedly met union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and after staying in a farmhouse for 12 days, called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

He said that following the meeting between Patnaik and Modi, the CBI’s investigating officer Sinha was taken off the probe and it was transferred to the CBI technical branch.

After the Supreme Court’s order, 44 chit fund companies are being investigated by the CBI.

Of these, the names of 11 companies, including West Bengal-based Saradha and Gujarat-based Astha International, were submitted to the Supreme Court by Jena.

“In response to the Supreme Court’s directive, I submitted the names of only 11 chit fund companies about which I was aware then. However, the apex court has kept the case open, leaving scope for any citizen in the country to bring to its notice the names of other chit fund companies which need to be investigated by the CBI,” Jena said. (IANS)

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Khaleda Zia granted bail in 2008 corruption case

Khaleda is a two-time Bangladesh Prime Minister, having ruled from 1991-96 and again from 2001-06

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Khaleeda Zia granted 64 months bail. IANS

Bangladesh Nationalist Party Chairperson Khaleda Zia, convicted in a corruption case, was granted bail on Monday.

BNP leader Zia secured a four-month bail in the Zia Orphanage Trust corruption case in which she was handed five years of imprisonment by a Bangladesh court.

“Now, there is no legal bar to let Khaleda walk out of prison on bail,” Bangladesh Daily Star quoted BNP Advocate Sagir Hossain Leon as saying.

Earlier today, a bench of Justice M Enayetur Rahim and Justice Shahidul Karim passed the bail order in response to a petition moved by Khaleda before a high court back in February.

Her bail was considered on four grounds, including her health condition.

Further, the high court directed the concerned authority to prepare the paper book of the case within the next four months for hearing the appeal she filed against her conviction in the case.

The high court sentenced Zia’s eldest son and Bangladesh Nationalist Party’s (BNP) Vice-Chairman Tarique Rahman and four others for at least 10 years with a fine of 2.10 crore Bangladeshi takas (Tk).

The Anti-Corruption Commission had earlier filed a case in 2008 with Ramna Police Station, accusing six persons including Khaleda and her son Tarique.

Khaleda is a two-time Bangladesh Prime Minister, having ruled from 1991-96 and again from 2001-06.

In a political career spanning almost four decades, Khaleda went to the jail several times but was never convicted. She was detained several times during the anti-Ershad movement between the 1980s and 1990s.

In March 1983, she was made vice-chairperson of BNP after her husband and former Bangladesh President Ziaur was assassinated.

She went on to become the party’s chairperson in 1984, a position which she holds today. May 10, 1984.

Since the last three decades, Bangladeshi politics have been dominated by Zia and current Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

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